Quartzsite BLM Users Should Expect Changes
With winter approaching, many FMCA members are planning to follow the sun to warmer zones. Quartzsite, Arizona, is high on the list of snowbird roosts, attracting thousands of RVers each year. With limited RV camping space, the majority of winter visitors wind up spending time on the desert area outside of town. The United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which controls most of the popular government camping spaces in the area, has news for those who will be staying at the La Posa Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) in Quartzsite this year.
A BLM mailer sent to thousands of LTVA users stated: “Fees have been adjusted to meet higher program costs.” This means that RVers who plan to use the LTVA will have to dig a little deeper into their pockets this year. Last season, a two-week camping permit cost $25, while a full-season permit cost $125. The two-week permit is now $30, while a seasonal permit, which is good from September 15 through April 15, is $140.
Relief from long lines at the single dump and water station that serves all four La Posa LTVA campgrounds may or may not be available this season. Last year, the BLM contracted with a well-drilling firm to drive a new well that would provide water service to the LTVAs west of U.S. 95. “The well has finally punched in,” reported the BLM’s Mark Lowans, “and it took three tries.” But Lowans, the recreation specialist for the Yuma, Arizona, field office, said the well is a good news, bad news proposition. As of press time, the new well “” driven down to 970 feet “” was delivering only one to two gallons of water per minute. He said the BLM is “disappointed” with the results. While he is cautiously optimistic about procedures that may increase the flow rate, he said the anticipated new dump station won’t likely materialize this year. For those who have waited in line for up to three hours at the La Posa South dump station, this will not come as good news.
On the other hand, Mr. Lowans said the BLM is considering hiring contractors to bring water by truck to one or more of the LTVAs, making that liquid gold more readily available. And while the local engineering staff has been reduced, users at the Tyson Wash campground should see a new “chip-sealed” road that will reduce the amount of blowing dust.
With more than 7,000 paying users camping at the LTVAs, one wonders what the money collected from gate receipts is used for. Mr. Lowans said the money is part of the government’s fee demonstration program, where most of the funds are kept for local use. “The dream was that more help would be available,” Mr. Lowans said. Unfortunately, as the money rolled in at the front gate, Congress cut other funding “almost in direct proportion” to the new funds, he noted. Thus, the costs of maintenance and daily operations continue to chew into user fees. Without the work of volunteers, keeping the LTVAs operating would be much more difficult.
Of course, there are alternatives for those who don’t want to pay the higher fees. Free camping for up to two weeks is available in short-term areas. However, you’ll need to load up and head into town to dump your tanks for $5 or $10, and fill up the fresh water tank for another $3 or $4. We know where our vote is. Laying out a few extra bucks and getting these amenities on site at the LTVA is still a big bargain.
“” Russ & Tiña De Maris
California RV Show
The 51st Annual California RV Show, produced by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, will be held October 10 through 19 at Fairplex in Pomona, California. More than 1,800 recreation vehicles will be showcased at the event, with factory and dealer representatives on hand to answer questions and explain many of the new features available in today’s RVs.
The show also will include a 40,000-square-foot tent filled with RV products and accessories, and a full program of daily seminars hosted by some of the United States’ top RV experts. Those include Dick Reed of the RV Driving School, C6198, who will be on hand to help RV owners hone their driving skills, and Joe and Vicki Kieva, F164860, who will present two seminars: “How To Choose An RV” and “RV Travel And Camping Tips.”
Show hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. Ticket prices are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and free for children under age 12. Parking at Fairplex is $6 for cars and $8 for RVs. For directions, nearby campgrounds, and other information, call (909) 274-9215 (24-hour recorded show information) or visit www.carvshow.com. Discount coupons also are available at the show’s Web site.
Blue Bird Announces Management Changes, Celebrates Wanderlodge’s 40th Birthday
Henlys Group plc, the international bus and coach manufacturer that is the parent company of Blue Bird Corporation, C4, announced the appointment of Jeffry D. Bust as president and CEO of Blue Bird. Richard Maddox, who previously held the position, is now vice president and general manager of the School Bus Business Unit. Both changes became effective July 8, 2003.
Mr. Bust attended the U.S. Naval Academy, where he obtained a degree in mechanical engineering. At the end of his five-year naval commitment, he received an MBA from Dartmouth College before embarking on a highly successful industrial career. Mr. Bust has spent the past five years with Grove Worldwide LLC, first as president of its cranes division and more recently as the company’s chairman and CEO.
In another recent management change, Wayne Joseph was named vice president and general manager of Blue Bird’s Coach & RV Division.
The company also celebrated the 40th birthday of the Wanderlodge motorhome during FMCA’s 70th International Convention, July 18, 19, and 20, 2003, in Buffalo, New York.
Wanderlodge No. 1 rolled off Blue Bird’s Fort Valley, Georgia, production line in 1963. Based on a 17,000-pound Chevrolet chassis, the coach logged 235,000 miles before being retired and put on display.
“There have been a lot of advances since Wanderlodge No. 1 came off the line in 1963,” said Ray Hill, general supervisor of RV final finish for Blue Bird, and a 41-year employee of the company. “One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the pride in our employees. They are just as passionate and driven as they were 40 years ago.”
Kingsley Coach Receives First Production Truck Chassis
Kingsley Coach, a manufacturer of recreation and specialized vehicles platformed on semi-truck chassis, announced in late April that it had officially begun standardized motorhome production at its facility in Ramsey, Minnesota, using the 2004 Kenworth T2000 chassis.
Motorhomes built on this chassis will be the company’s first standardized product. Using a single chassis will enable Kingsley Coach to increase its volume, yet still allow customers to choose from four basic floor plans and to select interior colors.
Kingsley Coach CEO Ralph Dickenson said, “The standardized production line will allow Kingsley Coach to establish a crew who will become very familiar with the product, therefore reducing man-hours and improving efficiency.”
The first production motorhome was scheduled to be completed within 45 days after the chassis’ arrival.
Kingsley Coach has manufactured its own brand of custom-built motorhomes since 1996. For more information, phone the company at (877) 546-4759 or visit www.kingsleycoach.com.
Fleetwood RV Implements Dealer Advisory Councils
Earlier this year, Fleetwood RV, C985, announced the implementation of two new dealer advisory councils. One is a motorhome council that consists of six dealers, and the other is a towable council that will have seven dealers. The councils will hold regular meetings and conference calls to discuss the most pressing topics affecting the RV industry. The first motorhome council meeting took place on April 9, 2003.
“The formalization of Fleetwood’s dealer advisory councils is a result of our ongoing commitment to build equity in our dealers’ businesses as well as our brands,” said John Draheim, vice president of sales and marketing for Fleetwood RV. “It is critical to our success that we have a true understanding of our dealers’ markets and businesses. The councils will also help dealers better understand Fleetwood’s business and general direction. As a result, Fleetwood and its dealers will mutually develop strategies and tactical business plans.”
The council members were determined by nominations from Fleetwood’s regional sales teams. The motorhome dealer advisory council is composed of Hadden Smith of Media Camping Center, C2849; Bill Furano of Earnhardt RV Center, C6231; Gary Stroud of Tom Johnson Camping Center, C6230; Randy Thompson of Crystal Valley RV, C2786; Randy Biles of Pike’s Peak Traveland, C3488; and Albert de la Garza of Ancira Motorhomes, C2901.